Imperial Russian Сruiser "Aurora" Keel Laying Commemorative Plate/Закладная доска крейсера "Аврора"

Legendary Russian cruiser Aurora not only survived the Battle of Tsushima but also took an active part in the 1917 Revolution. On the night of October 25-26 1917, it fired a blank shot at the Winter Palace (then the residence of the Provisional Government), giving the signal to the rebellious workers, soldiers and sailors of the city to storm the palace.

The Aurora's keel was laid down at the "New Admiralty" shipyard in St.Petersburg on 23 May 1897. The cruiser was launched on 11 May 1900 and joined the Navy of Russia in July 1903. During the Russian-Japanese War the cruiser, being included in the second Pacific Ocean squadron, sailed to the Far East (October 1904 - May 1905). The cruiser Aurora had her baptism of fire in the Tsushima battle on 14-15 May 1905. During the battle her captain, Captain 1st rank Eugene R. Yegoryev, and 14 crewmen were killed. When she returned to the Baltic sea, the Aurora for a long time was used as a ship for training naval cadets of the Naval College.

In 1906-1912 the cruiser visited ports of many countries of the world and on November 1911 the Aurora's crew participated in the festivities in honour of coronation of the Siamese King in Bangkok, the capital of the Kingdom of Thailand. During World War I the cruiser Aurora, as a member of the second squadron, took an active part in the military actions on the Baltic sea. At the end of 1916 the cruiser was put in Petrograd's docks for repairs.

In 1917 the Aurora's crew took an active part in the February and October revolutionary activities and the Civil War repulsing international intervention. In 1922-1923 the cruiser Aurora became one of the first warships on the Baltic sea to be put into service as a specialized ship for training. Till 1940 students of Naval colleges did practical work on the cruiser. "The Aurora" again sailed a lot and visited foreign ports. In 1924 the cruiser was awarded the Red Banner of the USSR Central Committee and in 1927 decorated with the order of Red Banner With the beginning of the Great Patriotic War the cruiser Aurora with her crew defended Leningrad. She fought battles far from the city (the Chudskaya Flotilla) and at the approaches to it (the Voronya Hill).

Heroic deeds of the sailors added a glorious chapter to the history of their warship. For the whole period of the Leningrad siege from 1941 to 1944 the Aurora was moored at a pier in the Oranienbaum port (the town of Lomonosov) and was constantly shelled and bombed. The hull was holed, got many leakages and sank aground, but the small crew courageously fought for the life of their ship. In July 1944 the ship was raised and taken into a dock for repair.

In 1948 the cruiser Aurora was moored at the Petrogradskaya embankment of Leningrad and till 1956 was used as a naval training ship by the Leningrad Nakhimov College. In 1956 the cruiser Aurora was made a museum (a branch of the Central Naval Museum). In 1968 the cruiser Aurora was decorated with the Order of the October Revolution In July 1992 the Saint Andrew Naval Banner - the symbol of Russian naval power - was raised over the ship again.​

Imperial Russian Сruiser Aurora Keel Laying Commemorative Plate Закладная доска крейсера Аврора.jpg

Imperial Russian  Сruiser Aurora Keel Laying Commemorative Plate Закладная доска крейсера Аврора.jpg

The tradition of the keel laying plates/plaques comes from ancient times. There was a custom to place coins or other talismans in the hull of the ship or under the mast (so called mast stepping), which, it was believed, helped navigators propitiate the supernatural forces of the seas. In Russia, the tradition developed with the birth of the Navy at the beginning of the 18th century; during the construction of ships, gold coins were placed in the fore and sternposts. At the end of the 18th - beginning of the 19th centuries, along with coins, medals began to be placed in the keel indicating the name and rank of the ship, the name of the builder. The head of the ceremony hammered the first bolt with a special silver hammer. Over time, the dimensions of the medal increased and it turned into a laying plates (silver, chrome-plated steel or brass plate with text). All guests of honor of the keel laying ceremony (members of the royal family, members of the supervisory board, high-ranking officials of the maritime department, etc.) received a cased copy of the plate. Original plate was placed in the metal pocket of the keel laying section.​
Obverse side

“The 28-gun cruiser of the 1st rank “Aurora” was laid down on May 23, 1897 in St. Petersburg, in the New Admiralty in the presence of His Imperial Highness the Sovereign Grand Duke General-Admiral Alexei Alexandrovich/28-ми пушечный, винтовой крейсеръ 1-го ранга «Аврора» заложенъ 23-го мая 1897 года въ С. Петербурге, въ Новомъ Адмиралтействе въ присутствии Его Императорского Высочества Государя Великого Князя Генералъ-Адмирала Алексея Александровича".
Закладная доска крейсера  Аврора.jpg

On the reverse

“Managing Director of the Maritime Ministry, Vice-Admiral Tyrtov. Commander of the St. Petersburg Port Vice-Admiral De Livron. Chief Inspector of Shipbuilding Kuteinikov. Chief Ship Engineer of St. Petersburg Port Senior Shipbuilder Subbotin. Builder: Ship Engineer Senior Assistant Shipbuilder Tokarevsky/Управляющий Морскимъ Министерствомъ Вице-Адмиралъ Тыртовъ. Командиръ С. Петербургскаго Порта Вице-Адмиралъ Де Ливронъ. Главный Инспекторъ Кораблестроения Кутейников. Главный Корабельный Инженеръ С. Петербургскаго Порта Старший Судостроитель Субботинъ. Строитель: Корабельный Инженеръ Старший Помощник Судостроителя Токаревский".​

Закладная доска крейсера  Аврора (2).jpg
Plate was made by Pavel Ovchinnikov workshop /Павел Акимович Овчинников/ in 1897.
Silver, engraving.
Size 128 x 10 mm.
Currently in the collection of State Historical Museum, Moscow.


"P. Ovchinnikov/П.Овчинниковъ".


Hallmark "84" with the city hallmark (coat of arms) of St. Petersburg and "E.K./Э.К" for master Eduard Kortman/мастер Эдуард Кортман.

Another Aurora commemorative plate is currently in the collection of St. Petersburg Central Naval Museum.

Aurora Keel Laying Commemorative Plate.jpg


Aurora  Keel Laying Commemorative Plate.jpg
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    imperial russian navy imperial russian сruiser aurora keel laying commemorative plaque keel laying commemorative plate закладная доска крейсера аврора закладные доски закладные доски кораблей и судов награды крейсера аврора
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